Miniature Canadian flags for everyone - Macleans.ca
 

Miniature Canadian flags for everyone


 

The new era of fiscal restraint begins with $11-million more for elite athletes.

Thursday’s budget will double Ottawa’s contribution to the winter sports portion of the program from $11 million to $22 million, CTV Ottawa Bureau Chief Bob Fife reported Tuesday night. “The athletes did well for the country and Canadians expect the government to do well for them,” one unnamed government official told Fife.


 

Miniature Canadian flags for everyone

  1. This is a wonderful move by the federal government. If anything, Canada's phenomenal success at the Olympics demonstrates that investing in winter sports programs pays off. Our hard-working, world-class athletes deserve our support.

    • Yes, investing in things will often lead to some sort of "pay off", but, in this world of limited resources, does it not behoove us to decide which pay offs are more important than others? Is 26 individuals receiving medallions for their mantle tops really beneficial enough to us, collectively, to put twenty-two million of our dollars into?

      • First, far more than 26 individuals received medals. The actual number is closer to seventy, and most of these "medallions" were gold. (If this confuses you, think about it for a second – you'll figure it out).

        Is 26 individuals receiving medallions for their mantle tops really beneficial enough to us, collectively, to put twenty-two million of our dollars into?

        Of course it is. Because it's not just about "medallions for mantle tops", or whatever flimsy construction you would use to belittle it. Think of it this way: the PR value of winning a record gold haul at the Olympics is hundreds of millions of dollars, at the very least. Canada is a brand and gold medals are part of the currency that helps to sell it. One gold medal is worth a thousand pseudo-nationalist beer commercials.

        • And what is Canada selling that is helped by this PR value?

          Exports? Is the Olympics a subsidy to exporters? Tourism?

          Please explain to me what is the return from this PR value. And, please, be explicit, because, as you so helpfully pointed out above, it can take me some time to figure things out.

          • That probably sounded much snarkier than I intended. Sorry. ;-)

            The returns are tangible in that they boost revenues for various Canadian sports, leagues, trainers, athletic facilities, equipment manufacturers, and various ancillary businesses. Other tangible results include a boost in tourism, and arguably a minor improvement in aggregate public health due to increased involvement in sport. Some of these tangible benefits are easy to measure, others aren't.

            Intangible benefits include boosting our national morale thanks to the success of our Olympic athletes, and boosting our reputation internationally.

          • Increased revenues for sports, leagues,…

            This is merely money that would have been spent somewhere else, the net benefit to the economy is zero.

            Boost in tourism

            Yes. But that is a specific industry. How about the tourism industry pay the 22 million?

            Arguably a minor improvement in public health due to increased involvement in sport.

            Also, arguably more injuries.

            I would like to ask you to consider the intangible detriment from continually treating ski jumpers, figure skaters, and, of course, hockey players as the most praise-worthy and medal-deserving members of our species.

            As Yossarian mused in Catch-22 (regarding pennants):
            "Like Olympic medals and tennis trophies, all they signified was that the owner had done something of no benefit to anyone more capably than everyone else."

            Will more lugers improve our democratic institutions? Will more snowboarders fix the economy?

          • That sounds like an argument for no government spending on anything other than running Parliament, enforcing the law, building roads and printing money. No arts, no sports, no CBC, no citizenship guides… :)

          • Almost.

            Allow me to stress that I vehemently object to governments printing money. I think money is one of the most important things to be left to the marketplace, and that when it is controlled by government monopoly it leads to disastrous economic consequences, not unlike what we are experiencing at present.

            Regarding "no arts, no sports", etc. Do you really think that these things would not exist if not for government subsidising them?

            If yes, then I ask you, what is the justification for the government taking money from citizens to buy things that the citizens would not buy if their money had been left to them?

          • Oh they would certainly exist without government assistance, I agree. However, they would exist in a much richer (more disposable income for hockey pads), whiter (less opportunities in urban cores and immigrant-rich communities), and unbalanced way (less opportunities for non superstars to still play). Obviously this is oversimplified, but that's the gist of my concerns.

          • On your point about injuries: Sports injuries are common, but more often than not, acute. Serious sports injuries are rare, particularly among the crowd that CR is probably referring to (the recreational user and/or their kids, who make up the vast majority of participants). The public health impact of sedentary lifestyles is chronic, and much more costly in the long term.

          • So is the best way of getting people to abandon their sedentary lifestyles to spend large amounts of money to finance a minuscule amount of elite athletes to participate in elite competitions?

        • Using that math, nearly one third of the recipients already receive muti-million dollar NHL salaries. Maybe you should try that argument again. I'm willing to bet Marty Brodeur and Jerome Iginla were not beneficiaries of 'Own the Podium'

      • "Is 26 individuals receiving medallions for their mantle tops really beneficial enough to us, collectively, to put twenty-two million of our dollars into?"

        Those medals weren't won just by the individuals who wear them; they were won by Canada. That's why the Canadian flag is hoisted and the anthem played every time a Canadian wins gold. The pride, achievement, patriotism, and national unity represented by this is priceless.

        Yes, it's worth it.

        • Well they were playing for a team all of whom met the requirements for being on that team and who chose to play for it. Regardless of the wisdom of increased athletic funding, I think any actual interest in the medals by the country itself is minimal at best.

        • Priceless or worthless?

          A country cannot win a medal any more than it can ski down a hill or shoot a puck with a wooden stick.

          The pride, achievement, etc. that you feel is due to primitive feelings of tribe.

          I ask you, what do you feel when Canada loses?

          • "A country cannot win a medal any more than it can ski down a hill or shoot a puck with a wooden stick. "

            I suppose we can extend that logic to "A country cannot win a war any more than it can drive a tank down a hill or shoot a rifle." Reduction ad absurdum, QED.

            The pride and achievement is due to patriotism, i.e. love of one's country. It's related to filial love, yes, if that's what you mean by "tribal", but it's based on gratitude, a rational sense of debt owed, not some kind of whimsical feeling. Just as I am happy when one of my parents is honoured, likewise I am happy when my country is honoured.

            When Canada loses due to poor effort I am shamed. When Canada loses despite her best efforts, I am proud. What about all this is puzzling to you?

          • What puzzles me is why you would feel "shamed" by a poor effort that was not your own.

            I am puzzled by the suggestion that I would feel proud if, say, a man from Vancouver won a skiiing medal and indifferent (or angry? depressed?) if a man from Buffalo won.

          • No man is an island. When a Canadian accomplishes something he has not achieved it alone – his efforts relied on friends, neighbors, parents, coaches, infrastructure, freedom, opportunity, etc. In short, he stands on the shoulders of those who came before him and he is lifted by the efforts of all of us. Hence we can all be proud when he succeeds on our behalf. This is why we are proud not only of Canadian athletes, but inventors, entrepreneurs, comedians, musicians, etc. They are a product of our society, and we make that society what it is. Their accomplishment, therefore, is ours as well.

            Conversely, when a Canadian does something shameful while representing Canada, it is a shame for all of us.

            When someone from another society achieves something I am happy for them and happy for their country, but I can't really take pride in it since I didn't contribute to that society.

            As to the "man from Buffalo", I owe considerable gratitude to the US for many of the benefits I enjoy, so I'm almost as happy when an American accomplishes something. But only "almost".

          • I am a Canadian, and I can assure you that it is in no way shameful for me when anyone does anything shameful, except when it is dome by me.

            You may counter that this is simply my opinion. But it is not just an opinion. To feel otherwise would be irrational.

          • That depends on the circumstances. If a man is acting purely as an individual and does something shameful, and it is in spite of our society rather than because of it, then I agree there is no reason for the rest of us to feel ashamed.

            However, if someone acts on our behalf and acts poorly because of some fault in our society, then we all bear the shame for it, albeit to a lesser degree. Example: the Canadian soldiers who beat a Somali teen to death in 1993. They were wearing the uniform of our country, acting on our behalf, trained and sent into battle by our society. As a Canadian I was appalled and ashamed at the monumental failure they represented.

          • But surely their actions were in spite of their uniform, in spite of their training, in spite of our society.

          • You don't think our society is prone to the attitude that it's ok to dispose of helpless individuals whom we would prefer not to care for?

            I'm not as sure as you are.

          • If the actions were because of "our society", and they appalled you, is it not to my point that shame is personal and not collective. These people acted in a way that you find deplorable, but why should you feel shamed?

          • Because I am a member of the society that produced, trained, and approved these people to represent us.

          • I suppose we can extend that logic to "A country cannot win a war any more than it can drive a tank down a hill or shoot a rifle." Reductio ad absurdum, QED, etc.

            Unless you actually read what the federal government's responsibilities are in the frickin' CONSTITUTION!!!! I am pretty sure the common defence of the nation is in there. I am pretty sure a better defence against the USA Women's Hockey team is not.

          • So, if it's not in our constitution, we shouldn't do anything about it?

          • WE can do all sorts of wonderful things. If I want to contribute fifty bucks of my own dough to the Canadian team, that's cool. If I wish to buy a pair of red mittens so a few bucks gets to Clara Hughes, fine. If HBC or Coca-Cola or Bombardier (woah, really bad choice, MYL…) or CIBC wants to pitch in for the promotional benefits and it's cool with their shareholders, magnificent. Where does it say that all Canadians, as represented by Ottawa, have the moral authority to squander the wealth of today's and tomorrow's taxpayers on extra-constitutional frivolous whims? Well, ok, they get that moral authority because enough voters feel quite happy spending other people's wealth on these frivolous whims, but that does not make it cool.

            If it's so damn important that the government simply must get involved, then put it in the Constitution.

          • The shareholders example is interesting.. because it's typically just a very few shareholders that control the actions of a company.. just like it's very few representatives that control the actions of a country.

            You can argue that the shareholders have the ability to pull their money out if they don't like where the management takes the company, or try to get new management in place, but citizens have the exact same ability to pull up stakes and get out of a country, or attempt to get new management of the country into place.

          • The point was that a country *can* accomplish things, even though the actual deeds are done by individual Canadians. It was not meant to equate national defense with winning athletic competitions.

          • I adored the Olympics and I cheered as loudly as anyone. Also, I have been making my entire leisure wardrobe choices on whether it says "Canada" on it for the last twenty years or so.

            But I have a couple of problems with this. First, did we not cheer in Calgary? Because I remember cheering. Also, did we not cheer in Turin? Because I'm sure I cheered during those Olympics and not only that, I remember the people around me cheering as well. I am as proud of those Canadians that gave their best effort and came in fourth (although I agree it was a real thrill to hear the Anthem while the flag was raised on high).

            But with a deficit not going away by our collective wishing, I'm wondering if further monies into Olympic athletes is the best use of our limited funds. I'm okay with keeping it at the same, large level as it was this year, but I'm also okay with reducing it to last Olympic levels, too. Yes, I want to fund everything and anything, but tough choices need to be made. I, for one, don't want to look at my grandchildren and say, "but they were pretty, shiny things!"

          • I actually view a lot of government expenditure as downright harmful for society, so for me this isn't a tough call between spending on this good thing or those other good things – rather, seeing the government spending on something like this is a pleasant relief.

          • Your general reluctance towards spending in general is what makes your full throated support of this measure even more bizarre.

          • I object to government spending that doesn't further the common good, and to government spending that is more efficiently allocated by lower levels of authority. This strikes me as neither.

          • I don't mean to be insulting, seriously, I don't. But isn't that a lot like saying, "government expenditures should be spent on things I, in my sole wisdom, deem worthy."

            We had a great time these last two weeks, didn't we? We could be as proud of our athletes for doing well (fourth, sixth, tenth place) in spite of not having the funding that buys them gold, if we chose to. Also, I'm fairly sure our grandchildren would actually want to experience the fun we had in cheering our athletes on to the gold medal, since they are the ones who would be paying for it, so maybe we should put our money into the debt, education and health care, so as to make sure they are around and able to pay for it when their time comes.

          • No offense taken – if you can show me a circularity in my thinking I'd be grateful, not offended.

            Obviously everyone holds differing opinions as to whether various things are worthy of public expenditure. My opinion is that only the common good qualifies, since the money is taken from the community. In other words, if we all pay for it in common then we should benefit from it in common. Seems like justice to me.

            As to whether something is part of the "common good", that's just a matter of asking "is it something that is shared by and of benefit to the entire community". In the case of the Olympics, I think that answer is objectively "yes".

          • Okay, I think I share your 'common good' theme, but I suspect what I consider common good differs from yours. I take it we can agree on defence, education and health care as a common good. Those three are pretty easy, I think, but perhaps you have another view?

            Moving on, how about agricultural funding, be it by subsidy or otherwise. As with fishing. What about artistic funding, and museum/galleries? To me, all of those are common goods, although I certainly recognize that not everyone gets a personal use out of the funding. I myself am neither a farmer or a fisher, for example. Still, I recognize that I want to eat. I enjoy small museums, but I understand many people have never set foot inside one. Still, those museums preserve our shared history, and knowing where we came from, or how we came to be living in this time with these things, is important for perspective and understanding the future.

            Transportation, infrastructure, the justice system . . . I am unable, at this moment, to come up with something our government spends its money on that is not part of the common good. Yet I am sure there must be something. What have you got?

          • Defense and justice yes, not sure about education and health care. Obviously they are common goods but they may be better handled by individuals or communities rather than government. Same for agriculture – probably best handled by individuals and towns. I wouldn't say education has improved since it went public, nor has it gotten more cost effective. There are arguments that suggest the same about health care.

            Transportation used to be a clear "keep government out" case, but now with environmental concerns I think there's a case to be made for having government push for mass transit and the like.

            Advocacy groups should never get government funding – they are out for special interests rather than the common good. Welfare is debatable, at least in its current form. It seems to be doing more harm than good.

            Looks like a lot that could be cut to me.

          • You are going to have to convince me on the education and health care, (there was, for all practical purposes, virtually no education before it went public) and it will be even harder on the agriculture. If you live in a big city, and your community sets up a voluntary "education" fund, you will probably be able to afford something close to education for the children. You can forget about higher learning though. Remembering that this would have worked better back in the day–most people didn't need to know how to read and write, or do sums of any size. And even then it really didn't work, which is how we got public education in the first place.

          • I was once asked what I thought the value was of our public schools.

            I replied, "Well, I suppose it is important for kids to have some place to go when they are not learning."

          • Hey, I have serious concerns about how our public schools are teaching, myself. But how is not having public schools, i.e., not expecting children to learn how to read, write, do the math, etc., improve things? Oh, sure, you can say, "have private schools" but that just knocks half the kids out from the get-go. The other half have to be kicked out of the private school, I suppose. It doesn't address the challenges of learning for a large bulk of our children.

          • But why do you think that learning to read, write, and do math can only happen in public schools?

          • Because you have to attend the school in order to learn. Since a large bulk of the children have parents who can't (or won't) pay for schooling, only public schools include them. (I mean those parents who are no good at or have no time for teaching themselves–home-schooling is a viable alternative for some). Yes, I do know that if you are going to have children, you ought to have the wherewithal to pay for them. I even believe that myself, but it doesn't reflect the reality that confronts us. I am open to a discussion on parent licensing, but the funny thing about parenting is how long a time period it is, and sh*t happens; things change. Anyhoo, that is another discussion altogether.

          • You are assuming that the market for private schooling would be unaltered by the removal of public schools. Currently there is no market for private schools for anyone other than the rich because most people cannot afford to pay for private education in addition to what they already pay for education in taxes. If these taxes were removed, an entire market would open up of private schooling for middle and lower income families.

          • No, I'm not. Although, I was trying to be brief. Some parents couldn't or wouldn't pay 50 cents to send their kids to school. Shocking, but there it is. For the rest, the expensive schools would have the best teachers (because they'd be paid more) and the best resources. The halfway affordable would have halfway competent teachers and either not enough good resources, or enough outdated resources. The really affordable schools would have crappy teachers and next to no resources whatsoever.

          • I made a reply to this that seems to have been lost. I was trying to illustrate that history has proven that capitalism leads to quality for the masses. Yes, there are luxury products available only to the very rich, but they are usually ostentatious novelty items that are much more status-enhancing than they are quality-of-life enhancing.

            I ask you, if there are more high quality teachers (however this is measured) than there are spots in high-paying, rich schools, will the teachers not take the lower-paying jobs that are available.

          • No. Evidenced by immigrant labour. Lower paying (ergo lower quality) jobs do not attract quality workmanship. Low quality workmanship on our youth's education is undesirable, because nations that are more poorly educated quickly fall behind.

            The statement that capitalism leads to quality for the masses remains unproven (as there are some significant counter examples). Capitalism when tempered by regulation and bolstered with socialistic elements will tend toward quality for the masses. Capitalism, in and of itself, tends only to lead to extremes.

          • I happen to think that this country (this might be unfair, I only really know about my city, Toronto) is poorly educated and quickly falling behind. I also think that it is the public school system that is at fault.

            I think education is extremely important… I just don't think much of it happens in schools.

          • I can't disagree with you. But here's a novel concept that hasn't been tried in awhile. Instead of revamping the system (again), how about we just improve the learning? Let us start with spelling. How un-modern, I know, but wouldn't it be nice if people under 30 knew how to spell 'were'? (It is not 'where' for those of you under 30). How about teachers actually discover, from observation, oral questions, etc. if each kid gets the concept, instead of relying solely on written tests and median averages and the like. I'm oversimplifying and I'm sorry to those teachers I may be offending. It isn't really you so much as the system that allows or even forces you to stop teaching.

          • I am under 30 and I know exactly what you are talking about.

            But this is the result of the system being publicly funded. In all public systems, the unions fight hard to stop the system from evolving. Workers can't be fired, power comes from seniority (ie. keeps out fresh ideas), and new methods that would require significant re-training are not entertained.

            It is a static, rather than dynamic, system.

          • And, from my experience, the typical spelling of "were" is we're.

          • It's too bad your previous comment got lost, because I'd need to see the evidence that capitalism leads to quality for the masses. At least the way it is now, with the top earners earning my annual salary before they've completed their first minute on the job in a year.

            As to the good teachers, many of those that can't find a good school to work for might work in administration, perhaps by opening their own halfway decent school. For the few that are left, they may go to the halfway decent schools, and you might be lucky enough to have your kid go to one of those. But if all you can afford is the crappy school, you are virtually guaranteed to not have anything above a halfway decent teacher. And so often, the good teacher makes a more profound impression on the poor student.

          • What capitalist country (or countries) are you referring to?

          • You are asking me? Well, my very limited comment was for this country, but I suppose it works in other capitalist countries as well.

          • I do not consider any country with a central bank to be a capitalist country. The cost of credit (interest rates) is set by a central authority, ie. is not market determined. This causes distortions in the price of just about everything.

            In addition, when twenty to forty per cent of income is taxed (and income is not the only thing taxed), it begins to look like "capitalist" may be a bit of a misnomer.

          • Wow. Cool. A libertarian / conservative to my right!

            The common good justifies (in my mind, anyways) a competent central bank setting the rate at which it lends the $$$ to the banks. It may not be perfect, and the last decade or so in the USA has been unsettling. But all in all I am willing to applaud Canada for living up to the "competent" part. So, alas, I cannot meet you all the way, there.

            As to the central bank disqualifying a country's capitalist bona fides, shall we start chatting up trade barriers, protected domestic agricultural cartels, crown corporation radio / TV broadcasters dabbing in online content and multichannel empire building, etc., etc.

          • And etc. and etc. and etc…

            As to the "common good", i have mentioned in a few places, buried somewhere in the depths of this page, that I think the term is an oxymoron.

            The good is never common and the common is never good.

          • … rather, seeing the government spending on something like this is a pleasant relief.

            So Gaunilon is pleasantly relieved by this government frivolity. Wells would be pleasantly relieved when he gets his high-speed choo-choos, paid for by others. I love taking the kids camping at next-to-no-cost at the beautiful but not-cheaply-created-and-maintained facilities of a national park. Tens of thousands are pleasantly relieved by not having to think about actually doing anything useful to be able to afford food and cable and the text-and-surf plan for their cellphone.

            "For all the garbage they are wasting my money on, at least they have the sense to [insert personally favoured garbage here]." And here we are.

          • I, for one, don't want to look at my grandchildren and say, "but they were pretty, shiny things!"

            The last couple of generations appear too have adopted that strategy. We were ever-so-briefly wising up. Alas, the pretty shiny things have gotten to us, too. Jack proposes a sane response for the next generation below. Enjoy your cat food, Nana Jenn.

          • A country can't develop insulin, either. But we still fund research and development projects (or, we used to). It's the idea that one man's efforts can contribute to the collective good (strong national morale is good for our country in many respects, not the least of which is community bonding). As such, the collective good reciprocates by encouraging more contributions in those fields.

          • I object to medical research funding by the federal government, but less so than funding to Olympic athletes. But please notice something: Medicine is a good in itself. One does not need to justify medical research by listing nebulous, and debatable, trickle-down benefits such as, "It boosts morale." No, medicine is a good in itself; having the luger who posted the fastest time in a specific race hailing from within the same border as "me", is not.

          • Medicine isn't a good in itself. It's a means to an end: health.

          • And health isn't an "end" it's a means to a longer and more active life. This is straying from the point. Medicine, once developed, is an actual thing, with actual, are directly caused, benefits. An Olympic medal, for anyone other than the winner, is of no direct benefit and only (very) arguably of some vague, indirect benefit, far down the causal chain. Is "patriotic fervour" a good thing? Patriotism is just mysticism about the state. Mysticism is never a good thing. Although, I suppose, this will require a debate about what is "the good".

          • Health is a good in itself: it's better to be healthy than unhealthy. For comparison, it is not better to see a doctor / take a pill / have an operation unless the end goal of "health" is thereby furthered.

            Patriotism is about the society, not the state. Patriots throughout history have overthrown the state.

            Do we really need to debate what is "the good"? We can if you want – it's a good discussion with a precise definition at the end – but it would probably be shorter to agree that we know it when we see it.

          • I can't imagine that the "patriotic fervour" produced by Olympic success would ever have anything to do with overthrowing the state. The Olympics is an orgy of statism.

            Health is experienced by the individual, patriotic fervour by the collective. It comes back to whether "the good" is individualistic or collective. As I said before, the good is never common and the common is never good.

          • Peace is experienced by the community. Is it your view that peace is not a good, then?

          • It is experienced by individuals within a community. As you mentioned earlier, there are some who do not want peace. Also, there are people who benefit from violence.

            What I would say is that peace is moral, or the result of morality. (Obviously this opens the door to a discussion on what is "morality")

            I'd also like to point out that wars can only be begun by a collective, usually as the result of patriotic fervour.

          • It is experienced by individuals within a community. As you mentioned earlier, there are some who do not want peace. Also, there are people who benefit from violence.

            What I would say is that peace is moral, or the result of morality. (Obviously this opens the door to a discussion on what is "morality")

            I'd also like to point out that wars can only be begun by a collective, usually as the result of patriotic fervour.

          • Yes, it is a good that benefits all in the community except those who specifically choose to reject it. "Also, there are people who benefit from violence." No, there are people who benefit materially from violence, but they trade greater goods for that so their net benefit is negative.

            "I'd also like to point out that wars can only be begun by a collective, usually as the result of patriotic fervour."
            Wars begin for a multitude of reasons, but the ones most closely fitting your description begin as a result of nationalism, not patriotism. The former "Our country is best" attitude leads to the attitude "we want what those lesser people have, so we'll take it". The latter "We love our country warts and all" attitude does not.
            The vice is related to the virtue as the extreme is related to the mean, but they are not identical.

          • What are the "greater goods" they have traded?

          • Virtue and happiness.

          • You may like to think that happiness is decreased when one benefits from violence, but I seriously doubt it.

            Virtue is just a word. It is a benefit only by the self-righteous feeling one gets from perceiving that he or she is virtuous — I bet there have been many perpetrators of violence who have felt themselves on the side of "virtue".

          • Not pleasure or contentment: happiness.

            Also, thinking one is virtuous is not the same as being virtuous. In fact it's usually the opposite.

            I don't think this thread is quite the forum for a serious discussion on the definition of virtue and its relationship to happiness – but the whole thing is laid out with extreme efficiency in Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics if you're interested.

          • I will read it.

            But I remain unconvinced that happiness (if different than pleasure and contentment) and virtue are anything more than mystical labels that, perhaps, sound nice, but really are just euphemisms for "nothing".

  2. Excellent. This would be one of the rare cases of government spending money wisely.

    • Although I am not necessary against athletic funding, I am skeptical of your impression of the "common good"

      • Common good: a good which benefits and is shared by the community.

        • The only "common good" is the understanding that the "good" can only be experienced by individuals.

          Or:

          The only common good is the widespread understanding that the good cannot be common and the common cannot be good.

          • I have trouble believing you're serious, but in case you are, here are some examples of goods that are held in common for the shared benefit of the community:

            – great literature
            – great music
            – great art made available for viewing by the public
            – peace
            – common courtesy

            Need I go on?

          • Admittedly, "peace" is a good answer.

            But when we are talking about things, there is nothing that is good for everyone.

            Great literature? Great music? In Canada, the number of sales a book needs to achieve bestseller status is 5000, in a country of 33 million! Surely you would agree that there is nothing common about these goods.

          • I don't understand your point. The benefit of a great book isn't the profit it generates, but rather the improvement it fosters in the reader. You only have to read (or hear) a great book once to get this benefit, and it stays with you forever. Same goes for great music and art.

            An entire crowd is enriched from seeing an enactment of Henry V, listening to Beethoven's 9th, or contemplating the Pieta. Everyone benefits in common and the good remains undiminished.

          • It benefits only the reader. The good is not common, its individual.

          • Community is composed of individuals. Obviously to benefit the community it has to benefit individuals.

            However, since it benefits each reader (just as peace benefits each citizen) without diminishing the benefit for others, it is a shared benefit: i.e. a common good.

          • What about those who didn't like the book?

          • Or read it?

          • Is it less of a common good just because some people don't appreciate it? I don't think so. To use one of the other examples, is peace not a common good just because there are some who prefer anarchy?

          • Your definition of "common good" has boiled down to anything that is enjoyed by more than one person, for example, all the people who enjoy a particular book.

            The reason we began discussing the "common good" was as it justifies government spending. Now, if I belong to, let's say, a bowling team of four members, by your definition this team is a common good. How much tax money should my team expect to receive from the government.

            The point about government spending that I am trying to address is that it is most often money being spent on the pleasure of a few at the expense of everyone. As Frederic Bastiat wrote, "Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."

            Peace, or law, is equal (or, at least, ostensibly so) to everyone. Although a nation must always be concerned with the possibility of its police forces and/or military turning defence and law enforcement into an extortion racket.

          • (1) You are confusing enjoyment with "benefit".
            (2) You are also confusing "some people" with "the entire community".

          • (1) Fine. Wherever I wrote "enjoy" replace with "benefit from".
            (2) It was you who defined the common good as that which benefits some (any number greater than one) group of people. Can I interpret what you are saying to mean: the government should only spend money on that which "benefits" "the entire community"?

          • Sure.

            And yes, great literature benefits the entire community even if some people refuse to take advantage of it.

          • No it doesn't.

            And…

            Who decides what literature is great?

          • Me!

            I kid.

            People may disagree as to which is which, but the fact remains that some literature is greater than other literature. "Great", with respect to literature, being a measure of how well it conveys either profound or ennobling concepts. It's not a subjective matter like "which food tastes best"'; it's an objective standard that is often hard to discern, like "which food is healthiest".

          • Is there a difference between a real benefit and a perceived benefit?

          • Placebos vs. medicines, my friend.

          • Could a placebo, perhaps, boost morale?

          • Clever! So a perceived benefit is a real benefit… at least in terms of morale.

            Ah yes, but if the perceived benefit causes a real benefit in terms of morale boost, but is harmful in some more direct way then the net benefit is negative.

          • I'm still not sure what the real benefit is. It seems to me that the Olympics is just like a placebo. I think it makes no real change to anyone's life (i'm talking about fans, not participants), yet I don't doubt that many are happier (is happiness just perceived?) because of the results.

          • So I guess I'd say the morale is a real benefit, but more important is the encouragement of patriotism. Not only is that good generally but for Canada at this point in history I think it's critical. Patriotism has been beaten down and given a bad name in the last half century, and it's a virtue which the country needs to survive.

          • Someone who loves their country.

          • Someone who worships their country.

          • I like that.

            And is it always good to be a patriot (to love one's country)? Or does it depend on the country?

          • Always good imo. But true love of country also implies trying to fix the faults, not excusing or embracing them.

          • In what way(s) can a country have faults?

          • Getting awful tight in here…

          • I
            t

            s
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            .

    • Indeed. We are fortunate to have a federal government that recognizes the value of investing in our elite athletes.

      • Aaaaargh!

  3. Every cent of it!!

  4. That’s great that the gov’t supports Canada’s heroes! At least the children will have someone to look up to, and maybe dream to some day represent our country!

    • Some firefighters, police officers, doctors, and soldiers might disagree with your classification of athletes as "Canada's heroes"

    • Yes. I've always thought the problem in Canada is that not enough of our children are aspiring to be athletes when they're grown.

    • Dream away, kids. By the way, our current deficit situation means you will be paying tomorrow for our "today" dreams. And no, you don't get a retroactive say in the matter. Cheers.

      • you don't get a retroactive say in the matter

        Dunno, MYL, I wonder if your and my CPP won't be looking awfully tempting c. 2040, what with the dearth of workers etc.

        • Good point. And given what we are currently doing with their prosperity, the potential reaction you suggest would be entirely justified. Four hundredths of a second faster was sooooo important, eh, you twerps? Enjoy your cat food.

          • Four hundredths of a second faster was sooooo important…

            Especially on "home soil".

          • Ah, well, then. That changes everything.

    • The only thing that seems certain is that none of today's children are likely to be looking up to our political leaders.

  5. Well, if it means more support for folks like Jasey Jay, who are actually being innovative and figuring out new technologies that benefit them in their sport, I'm in favor.

    Of course, what I'd really like to see is the CRTC declaring that sporting events with Canadian participants count as Can-Con, and the higher the participants place, the more Can-con time the event time counts for.

    • That might actually have an unintended and positive result in improving kids' health by promoting more sports more often. Hmmm.

      • Whaddya mean unintended?

        • *grin* I really meant "unthought-of by me". Oops.

          • Gotcha. Yeah, I like it cause it's a winning solution so many ways around.

            I see it as encouraging media companies to directly fund athletes (Shaw does this already to a significant amount) in order to help them get better places on the podium, encouraging them to show a wider variety of sports so that different people can find ones they like that they might not have seen before, and increasing the funding of sports in general as the media companies compete to see who gets the right to broadcast them — competition which should help to fund the relevant sporting association's coffers.

  6. Oh athletes of Canada, thou hast served thy country well. Now shall ye be rewarded.

    Back to reality, does anyone know what's in the budget under psychological services for returning war veterans?

  7. Hopefully all of those fiscal conservatives above agree not to come back and blame this spending on the coalition. (Although, I guess in this case it is kinda Jack and Iggy that pushed Steve's button.

    • I blame it on the coalition alright. The big-government, Keynesian coalition of the Conservative, Liberal, and New Democrat parties of Canada.

    • Liberals in a hurry!

  8. $11 million really is chump-change these days for the federal government, even though it is pretty far in debt. Low cost, good payout for Canada's morale (hopefully for Canada's waistline too, though that's a tough case to make).

    I fully support this, but it does raise the obvious question – with no tax raises and very little that can be realistically cut, how do the Conservatives intent to counterbalance new spending like this, let alone lower the deficit?

    • If Canada's waistline is important, I assume that means Harper will also be restoring the cuts to "Participaction" and similar programs…

    • Cut out the expense account for meals for any senators or MPs who are overweight. Saves the budget and promotes good health at the same time. Even if Del Maestro doesn't get elected next time, there's still Duffy.

  9. Leave the rocks alone. They already have to deal with slime everyday.

    • Zero on topic commentary, 100% personal insults, reported to moderator.

  10. Maybe we should demand that the athletes deposit their medals into the treasury.

  11. Is it a one time expense or annual? if one time, the increase alone is slightly less than the amount needed to fund the long gun registry until the next olympics. If annual, it's almost four times that.

  12. OTB, with nothing to back your claim I deduce your comment to be nothing more than a veiled attempt to insight hate and prejudice. I have reported your comment to the moderator.

  13. There isn't a sport club in Canada that wouldn't want more participants, no matter their background.

    • thanks for pointing that out Lynn. my now deleted comment should have done that.

  14. Ah, the CONs in action. Toss out an idea, ignore the murmurring of the public, and wait for the focus group to piece together a plan.
    Interesting. So when that focus group tells Harper to "prance naked down McLeod Trail throwing rose pedals, i sure hope there are no cameras around…

  15. My guess is that this won't be coming out of the CONs 10-percenter and focus grouping-to-death budget…

  16. I think the more important question is how this money will be spent. Is it for needed development, or is it just giving a stipend to elite athletes that could have got corporate sponsorship?

  17. Getting rid of ten percenters will fund the 11 million and ease the burden on my blue box

    Win/Win

  18. I don't think that's going to happen. One has to look at both winter and summer sports. Winter sports, by tradition have been more prominent in northern countries that are predominantly white. I'm non-white, and I love winter sports. But I am an exception in my family, and a rarity on ski hills. On the other hand, no one in my family is complaining about funding for athletics. Seriously, $11 million in not a significant amount.

    If ethnic communities want representation in winter or summer sports, they know the answer: get their kids involved in sports!

    I, for one, would like to see at least one field of endeavor in this country to be and to remain entirely merit-based.